The OS we use is Windows 8 Pro 64bit with all patches and updates applied. We also use the latest drivers available for the motherboard and any devices attached to the computer. We do not disable background tasks or tweak the OS or system in any way. We turn off drive indexing and daily defragging. We also turn off Prefetch and Superfetch. This is not an attempt to produce bigger benchmark numbers. Drive indexing and defragging can interfere with testing and produce confusing numbers. If a test were to be run while a drive was being indexed or defragged, and then the same test was later run when these processes were off, the two results would be contradictory and erroneous. As we cannot control when defragging and indexing occur precisely enough to guarantee that they won’t interfere with testing, we opt to disable the features entirely.
Prefetch tries to predict what users will load the next time they boot the machine by caching the relevant files and storing them for later use. We want to learn how the program runs without any of the files being cached, and we disable it so that each test run we do not have to clear pre-fetch to get accurate numbers. Lastly we disable Superfetch. Superfetch loads often-used programs into the memory. It is one of the reasons that Windows Vista occupies so much memory. Vista fills the memory in an attempt to predict what users will load. Having one test run with files cached, and another test run with the files un-cached would result in inaccurate numbers. Again, since we can’t control its timings so precisely, it we turn it off. Because these four features can potentially interfere with benchmarking, and and are out of our control, we disable them. We do not disable anything else.
We ran each test a total of 3 times, and reported the average score from all three scores. Benchmark screenshots are of the median result. Anomalous results were discounted and the benchmarks were rerun.
Please note that due to new driver releases with performance improvements, we rebenched every card shown in the results section. The results here will be different than previous reviews due to the performance increases in drivers.
|Motherboards||ASUS Maximus VI Formula|
|Ram||Gskill TridentX 8GB (2x4GB) 2666Mhz 11-13-13 Dual-Channel Kit|
|CPU Cooler||Custom Liquid Cooling|
|Hard Drives||8x Western Digital RE4 2TB 7200RPM 3Gb/s Hard Drives (Raid 5)|
|SSD||3x Kingston HyperX 240GB SATA III 6Gb/s SSD|
|GPU||Sapphire Radeon R9-280X Toxic|
Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card
Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card
Nvidia GeForce GTX TITAN 6GB Video Card
Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 4GB Video Card
|GeForce Drivers||327.23 (GTX 760,770, 780,TITAN and 690)|
Catalyst 13.11 (AMD Radeon R9-280X)
|PSU||Thermaltake Toughpower XT 1475W Gold|
|Mouse||Tt eSPORTS Theron Gaming Mouse|
|Keyboard||Tt eSPORTS Meks G1 Illuminated|
Synthetic Benchmarks & Games
We will use the following applications to benchmark the performance of the R9-280X video card.
|Unigine Heaven 4.0|
|Batman Arkham City|
|Dirt 3 Showdown|
|Metro Last Light|
|Sniper Elite V2|
Here you can see the overclock in full swing as the Toxic easily swamps the 770 and even nears the 780 in the performance test.
In 3DMark Firestrike and extreme the Toxic card does very well and once again leapfrogs ahead of the 770 by a decent margin.
Unigine Heaven 4.0
Unigine Heaven is a benchmark program based on Unigine Corp’s latest engine, Unigine. The engine features DirectX 11, Hardware tessellation, DirectCompute, and Shader Model 5.0. All of these new technologies combined with the ability to run each card through the same exact test means this benchmark should be in our arsenal for a long time.
Heaven shows gains here as well as the Overclock of the Toxic model allows it to surpass the 770 by over 1FPS
Sleeping dogs being an AMD pushed game I was not surprised to see good performance but to see the Toxic literally just as fast as the 780 was a very big surprise.
Even after many years, Metro 2033 is still one of the most demanding DX11 video games available to really push the limits of your system. The toxic once again impresses with 10 FPS over the 770 and just 4FPS short of 780 which puts the Toxic in a performance/Price ratio that is very hard to beat.
Batman Arkham City
Batman Arkham City is a fun game and utilizes FXAA fully. It is nice to see the full screen anti-aliasing getting picked up by popular titles. Batman AC being a heavily Nvidia based game I knew AMD would not fare as well but the toxic came within reach of the 770 here which is very good and honestly an impressive result when you consider the Nvidia based game means it was optimized for Nvidia cards first and foremost.
Tomb Raider being a heavily AMD based game I was expecting good performance but to see the Toxic rip past the 780 was a big surprise to me and when you think about the price of a 780 card, or even a 770 which is still 50 dollars more than this Toxic this si shaping up to be an amazing value for gamers.
Metro Last Light
Here we have Metro Last Light which is a brand new game added to our testing platform as it just came out. If you thought Metro 2033 was stressful you have seen nothing yet. The particles and lighting, as well as the PhysX effects all add up to an amazing looking game that can put a stun even the most powerful system in its tracks. For testing we disabled PhysX to ensure a level playing field since it would put extra load on the Nvidia GPU but not the AMD so we ensured the settings were kept equal. Once again the Toxic pulls a nice lead over the 770 again.
Sniper Elite V2
Sniper Elite V2 is a fun game which, when first released, was quite stressful but still playable on most higher end cards. By now, most cards have surpassed it, and the 280X is no exception but here once again like the MSI card it simply cannot surpass the 770 and it comes very close to braking the 100 FPS mark.
Dirt 3 Showdown
Dirt 3 Showdown is a visually beautiful game with excellent lighting and overall motion blurring creating a real visual spectacle of a game. The Toxic card pulls in just behind the 770 with just over 2 FPS shy of being a dead heat. This should play very well even at the highest settings.